PAP government should be fined for every major administrative lapse


Written by Ng E-Jay
10 January 2014

No thanks to the PAP government, Singapore has over the years developed a notorious reputation for being a “Fine City” — a city where people are slapped with financial penalties for a wide range of anti-social behaviour including chewing gum, spitting, and littering. To be sure, society must evolve to embrace good conduct and good manners. Let me state categorically that I support the punishment of people who repeatedly indulge in crass or unhygienic practices.

However, the high-handedness of the PAP government has created a negative image of Singapore. People know Singapore for being a tightly-controlled authoritarian nation, even if they have benefitted from the economic fruits our country has produced. People still call Singapore a “nanny state” even if our economic growth has made many of the elite immensely rich (the lower income have NOT enjoyed our economic prosperity). There is the pervasive, unshakable sense that underlying all the wealth and glitz associated with Singapore, crude and backward authoritarianism and oppression is still used by the ruling party to keep the populace in line as if we were but a bunch of farm animals.

It is time the government lead by example. If public transport companies are to be fined by LTA for service lapses, then ministries and statutory boards must also be fined for administrative lapses.

If the citizens of this country are fined for such a broad range of behaviour, then surely the government must also pay a financial penalty if they fail to meet basic expectations or fail to live up to their mandate.

The PAP government should be fined for major administrative lapses that occur in the ministries, in the statutory boards, and in the civil service. The government must also pay the price if senior officials or political figures commit major blunders in either their personal or public life. The fines must be comparable to the amount of money locked up in our CPF accounts.

The relevant ministries, statutory boards, or branches of the civil service should pay a million dollar fine if any of the following occur:

  • Major administrative lapses such as failure to submit proper accounting records to the Accountant General each year, or submitting record that show significant discrepancies in the accounts.
  • Security lapses such as allowing prisoners, detainees, or persons held in police custody to escape (Mas Selamat, for example)
  • Constructing and building poorly designed expressways that lead to massive jams during peak hours (the MCE, for example)
  • Miscommunication by the NEA or other government bodies through emails or other media resulting in town councils failing to perform ceiling cleaning at hawker centres
  • $5 million dollar fine for each civil servant of superscale rank and above found guilty of committing fraud or engaging in corrupt practices in his line of work.
  • $20,000 dollar fine imposed on NEA for every person who contracts dengue fever.

The money raised from all these fines will go into an independently-managed account that will be used to fund additional public assistance schemes for the homeless and the aged who have no one to care for them. The funds will also be used to enhance our social safety nets by providing additional GST offset packages for the lower-income as well as retrenchment allowances should a low-income Singaporean be retrenched from his job due to factors other than his personal lack of ability or commitment.

  1. That is going to cost them billions of dollars if we were to belate all those fines. I fully support all those fines should be managed by independent body, otherwise it will go into govt coffer and self-dig for obscene bonuses by the person being fined. Last but not least, I hope those fines will not translate into all sort of fee hikes to recoup their mistakes. I think we have already seen more than enough of how this govt recycle and recoup for themselves all sort of blunders. The best penalty is to kick out this govt in GE2016. This should help Singapore save a lot of money and I am sure the new govt is willing to accept lower salary and use the rest to help the less fortunate citizens instead of aggravating their lives.

  2. oh and where do you think the money from the fine will go to.
    Just a case of left pocket entering the right pocket.
    This is always the case of who is there to police the gatekeeper.

    Instead of imposing fines, the best solution will be for leaders to take ownership. This is a true Asian way. Leaders have always not shied away from taking ownership for mistakes/ errors/ blunders/ misbehaviors/ corruptions or even accidents that could been beyond their control. The present Governor of Tokyo had resigned from his Mayor’s post before. Such noble resignations had happened in Korea, Taiwan, India and Vietnam but not in Singapore.
    From blunders after blunders no one takes the responsibility. From Mas Selamat to the shortage of housing, transport to a mentally unstable lady sneaking into MFA all the way from Kelantan is a shame which requires moral ownership from the highly paid civil servants and ministers.